Reform Scotland News: 13 February 2014


All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is highlighted and underlined.


In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News



Currency: The three main parties in the UK have made it clear that, regardless of which party wins the 2015 general election, a currency union with an independent Scotland will not be agreed to. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, FT page 2, Daily Express page 4, Daily Record page 4, Sun page 8, Guardian page 18, Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 1)

Iain MacWhirter comments in the Herald that Osborne going ‘Dirty Harry’ on the currency union brings risks to both sides, and that while making Scotland an offer they can’t accept may persuade some anxious voters to vote No, it might also go down in Scottish folk memory as coercion by the UK and an act of economic warfare.

Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that we need to be mindful of the consequences of the tit-for-tat game that we have now entered, and that a campaign like this could create deep divisions that will not be healed by the referendum outcome.

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph that it is Scotland that is threatening the economic security of Scotland by refusing to pay their share of the debt if they do not get their own way regarding currency, and that it is one thing to enter the international community as a country with no debt, but another thing completely to do so having had debts but refused to pay them out of stubbornness.

Kerry Gill comments in the Express that it is no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon’s response to Osborne’s announcement is to paint the UK government as “unfeeling ruffians determined to force little Scotland into submission”, but he argues that portraying Scots as eternal victims is false and insulting.


Nicola Sturgeon speech: At a speech in London today, Nicola Sturgeon will highlight the benefits that an independent Scotland will bring to the rest of the UK, while drawing attention to her English ancestry. (Herald page 6, Courier page 14)


Ruth Davidson speech: In a speech today the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is expected to accuse nationalists of promoting the ‘myth’ that No campaigners lack patriotism, and is to dismiss the suggestion that Better Together supporters want to assimilate into English culture. She is also expected to say that Alex Salmond can’t just choose the bits he likes out of the UK and leave the parts he doesn’t. (Scotsman page 14, Telegraph page 11, Times page 17, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 14)


International aid: A cross-party group of MPs have recommended that more foreign aid be given in the form of loans rather than handouts, with grants only to be used in the cases of the poorest countries. (Herald page 4, Daily Express page 2)


Grangemouth: Unfair dismissal proceedings are to be pursued against Ineos on behalf of Mark Lyon, the sacked union convenor at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant. (Herald page 5)


Syrian refugees: Gordon Brown is to ask the UK Government to support an emergency plan to provide education to 435,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. (Herald page 6)


Child guardians: Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell has argued that controversial plans to appoint every child in Scotland a named guardian will provide a “safety net for those who need one”, after critics branded the proposals a “snoopers charter”. (Courier page 15)

Stephen Naysmith comments in the Herald that there is an “elephant trap” in the path of its Children and Young People Bill, and claims the policy only serves to guarantee an approach that is already seen by most people in child welfare as best practice, thus needlessly creating controversy, opposition and comparisons with Big Brother and Marxism where none existed before.



Alcohol duty: The Scotch Whisky Association has warned that higher duty on alcohol could create a ‘grey market’ and drive people towards fraud. They also claimed that removing the escalator on wine and spirits could create jobs and increase the industry’s contribution to the economy to £262 million by 2018. (Scotsman page 8)



Colleges: Unions have warned that staff from Scottish colleges are ready to take industrial action over moves to equalise widely varying conditions and pay. (Herald page 1)